Moselio Schaechter

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February 18, 2008

Why Have Lectures?


Recently, I wrote an article called In Defense of the Lecture. It appeared in Resonance, a science education journal of the Indian Academy of Sciences. If you care to know what this is about, here is the first paragraph from the article.

When it comes to teaching, everyone is an expert, so why not me? Any amount of experience, large or small, guarantees that one will hold strong views. I am no exception. In the course of over 50 years, perhaps 20,000 students have had to listen to me, the majority of whom I probably bored, a few whom I may have stimulated. I have no formal training in pedagogy. With these dubious credentials, let me make a single point: Lectures are a vital aspect of university teaching.


Quite an essay! Very heart-felt and succinct. I don't have a college education -- after high school I educated myself. Perhaps not the best choice, but I do enjoy reading accounts of the trials and tribulations of those who attempt to educate young people!

I couldn't agree more.

I suspect that enthusiasm is the Number One criterion for a good lecture, or lecturer.

I've always thought that multiple-choice questions were rather useless for testing. Generally speaking, I used take-home exams, pretty much open-ended, with pretty tough questions. I don't know if that would work in a time of Internet, Google, and Instant Messaging, though.

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